A HIGH Court judge has approved a £37million compensation plan for hundreds of victims of disgraced breast surgeon Ian Paterson.
Some 750 patients are claiming compensation from Spire Healthcare – which formerly ran Bupa hospitals in Solihull and Sutton Coldfield – where former consultant Paterson worked and ‘butchered and maimed’ patients. He also carried out operations on the NHS at the Heart of England Trust.
Earlier this month, the private healthcare provider offered to pay compensation of more than £27million.
Paterson and the Heart of England’s insurers added an extra £10million to the fund.
The 59-year-old surgeon was jailed for 15 years in May, which was later extended on appeal to 20 years.
Thompsons Solicitors, which has been representing over 500 of Paterson’s patients, has welcomed the news.
Linda Millband, national lead lawyer for clinical negligence at Thompsons Solicitors said: “We now have court approval of a settlement that is long overdue.
“At long last our clients will be financially compensated after years of deliberate and protracted stalling by Spire.
“Thompsons Solicitors, who broke the story to the press five years ago, say that the multi-million pound compensation from Spire is only the first step in ensuring that the private healthcare system cannot be allowed to play the system and evade liability again.
“Thompsons Solicitors is very proud to win this case on behalf of hundreds of women and men who have unnecessarily suffered for so long, but our work doesn’t end here.”
Spire Healthcare and the insurers have established the Ian Paterson Compensation Fund to deal with current and future claims. It will be managed by the lead solicitors for the claimants.
The fund will provide compensation to hundreds of patients bringing claims against the healthcare providers before October next year.
Before she joined Access Legal Solicitors as a medical negligence partner, Kashmir Uppal had been instrumental in pursuing claims on behalf of those injured by Paterson since 2010 and she also continues to represent women treated by Paterson privately at Spire Healthcare.
She said: ‘‘I am pleased that this settlement has been agreed and approved without the need to put the distressed clients I represent through the trauma of another trial and bring an end to a protracted period of litigation and anxiety for those whose lives he has ruined and whose trust he abused.
“Of course, no amount of money will ever heal the physical and mental scars these women and men have suffered, but they are relieved and I am equally happy that their long wait and uncertainty about whether they would be compensated for the pain Paterson caused them is now finally over.
“‘It is still important that all the managerial failings, which allowed Paterson to do what he did for so long, are addressed to make sure something like this can never happen again and I remain convinced that this can only be achieved through a public inquiry.
“It is equally crucial to address the discrepancy in access to justice for patients injured, often to the same degree and by the same surgeon, when that harm is caused in private practice rather than the NHS.’